Qatar takes UAE to the United Nations’ highest court over illegal blockade
The move on Monday comes a year after the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt began an illegal siege of Qatar by severing diplomatic and trade ties.
“As set forth in detail in Qatar’s application to the International Court, the UAE led these actions, which have had a devastating effect on the human rights of Qataris and residents of Qatar,” the government said in a statement.
During the illegal blockade, the UAE enacted a series of measures that discriminate against Qataris.
These measures included collectively expelling all Qataris from the UAE, prohibiting Qataris from entering into or passing through the UAE, ordering UAE nationals to leave Qatar, closing UAE airspace and seaports to Qatar, interfering with property owned by Qataris in the UAE and discriminating against Qatari students in the UAE, reported The Peninsula.
The UAE also criminalised any speech deemed to be in ‘support’ of Qatar, shut down Al Jazeera’s local offices, and blocked transmission of Qatari stations and websites. The UAE officials also actively participated in a full-scale media campaign of hate against Qatar and Qataris, directly inciting hatred, according to Qatar Tribune.
These actions are in violation of the UAE’s obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
The UAE’s actions have been decried by numerous independent human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders.
The CERD is a multilateral convention that commits its members to the prohibition and elimination of racial discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of nationality. It is one of the United Nations core human rights instruments. Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt are all parties to the CERD, according to Gulf Times.
“The unlawful measures imposed by UAE have torn apart families, with parents being separated from children and husbands from wives. The families deserve to be reunited,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said.
Qatar requested that the ICJ order the UAE to take steps to comply with its obligations under the CERD, ceasing and revoking the measures currently applied and restoring the rights of Qataris.
It also requested that the UAE makes reparations, including compensation, but gave no details of the amount it might be seeking.